Study Question and Note Taking

Hey guys,

I am currently a teacher, and I have found that I really enjoy coding and programming. I decided that I want to work my way through the courses offered here and see if I may want to make a career change one day. I am still pretty early on, but I have a question for those of you with more experience.

Should I be taking notes while I am working through the challenges on FCC? I am concerned that with all of the information I am learning, that I am going to forget a lot by the time I make it through a few lessons. Is this something that I need to be concerned about? Should I focus more on understanding the processes of how everything works, on memorizing code, or both?

Any help is appreciated. Thanks!

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HI @shawnp419!

Welcome to the forum!

If you want to. Why not?
Everyone has their own study method. So if taking notes helps you, go for it.

Yes, you will. But that is ok and normal.
There is way to much to remember.

As long as you understand the basic concept, then you will be fine.
With enough practice and time certain concepts will become second nature.

Even professionals look things up all of the time.
stackoverflow image

Never try to memorize everything.
It is a pointless and impossible task.

Go for basic understanding instead.

Hope that helps!


I agree on what @jwilkins.oboe said. Also try using the skills you learned not only in the projects from FCC but also in your own projects. You can be creative. The more fun you have the more likely you will learn more and continue learning. I think it is pretty much the same as for your students. :wink:


Hello! In my case, after performing a challenge that was difficult for me, I download the code and comment on the process that the code performs.
For example, at the moment I am trying to complete the React challenges, and almost all the challenges that I have done I have looked for references in the official page of react, the answers that I have obtained I have added them as comments to review them later. Although to be honest there are still many doubts that I must clarify.



Suitcase Coder recorded an interesting podcast on this topic. Her take on taking notes is that you use pen + paper for bigger ideas and concepts. She also suggested making a project zero workspace in your code editor, where you add everything you learn to the same project in one space. The result wouldn’t be very cohesive, but I do like the idea of one workspace were you can add everything you learn with some comments here and there.

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Hey there,

I think the first question is:
Why do I want to take notes?

I think in general there are two routes:

  • Route 1: note taking for gathering information, e.g. reading on Wikipedia
  • Route 2: note taking for creating new knowledge, e.g. listening to a great conversation

I mostly go the 2nd route. I read a page of a book, think about it and write down some words about it, in my own language.

I think copying information (e.g. code) is mostly useless, because it will break if the implementation changes.


  • Route 1: npm install [package]: this can quickly break, e.g. when the implementation changes
  • Route 2: I have to install the package: this doesn’t break when the implementation changes or if I change the language or package manager
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Hi Shawn,
I’m a teacher too and considered changing careers – now I do curriculum development partly through writing online resources.

Learning coding is like anything else, a lot of hard work and multiple exposures with increasing levels of challenge/mastery. If you think in terms of Bloom’s taxonomy (or Webb’s depth of knowledge), you need a certain amount low-level fact-based knowledge, otherwise you’ll never feel comfortable. But much more important is the conceptual understanding of how the pieces fit together, how to analyze code in the examples, and above all, the ability to synthesize and create something new. You don’t really have the luxury of deciding whether or not you want to be a higher-order thinker.

Absolutely I would take notes. I tend to use notecards or summaries for the low-level stuff, (and that part is pretty easy to google if you forget the specific syntax) and concept maps and lots of exploration/practice for the higher-level parts.

Good luck and have fun! K

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Hi @shawnp419,

I use for this reason.

It’s a snippets tool that allows me to take notes first and foremost but it also allows me to store snippets of code for use later. Please note, this isn’t a sponsored suggestion or anything like this, I’m purely passing on something I found a few years ago and have used it ever since.

Another thing I’ve been doing lately with cacher is creating my snippets using markdown. This allows me to explain in my own words what the snippets of code are doing. This has the added benefit of reinforcing my learning at bit more.

You can keep your snippets private (most of mine are) or make them public like this one - JS Expanding Cards.

Hope this helps
Graeme :+1: